One of the most recognizable events in all of scripture is when Jesus feeds 5,000 men with 5 loaves of barley and 2 small fish. What a remarkable feat! Can you imagine being among that multitude? Scripture tells us that there were 5000 men present, that number doesn’t include women and children. Realistically there were likely closer to 20,000 people in attendance. For comparison, Rupp Arena has a capacity of 23,000. It can be easy to glaze over this wonder because it is so often referenced, but we can learn so much from Christ’s teaching in this moment. Aside from the resurrection, this is the only specific event of Jesus’ ministry recorded in all four Gospels.
Jesus knew that the multitude of followers he had amassed would soon be hungry, and they were some distance from the nearest town. The disciples insisted that Jesus send them away because evening was approaching and they were in a remote place. Instead of sending them all away, Jesus chose to care for them by performing one of His most famous miracles. Philip knew that it would be humanly impossible to feed the people, even saying it would take 8 months of wages to even give everyone a morsel, but we know that nothing is impossible with Jesus.
This was not simply a humanitarian response to an immediate need; it portrayed Jesus as the supplier of people’s deepest hunger. There are so many parallels to what happens next. Andrew hesitantly reports there was a boy with five small loaves and two small fish, but even he rhetorically asks, “but what are they for so many?” Jesus gives thanks for the loaves and distributes it along with the fish to everyone, as much as they wanted. Don’t miss that, because this miracle goes farther than giving people food. Jesus’ actions echoed back to the Israelites in the wilderness where God supplied manna from Heaven as their daily provision. God was demonstrating His grace toward us. Christ’s sacrifice might, on the surface, seem insignificant. How could one man’s death pay the penalty for all of creation? God used Jesus, who lived a sinless life, to be the full payment for our sin, so that we could be spared the wrath of God. Like the fish and the loaves, God’s grace will never run out for us, there will always be enough to cover all of our transgressions.
By: Alex Boswell